Book Reviews

Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

Yes No Maybe So is a story about activism. How our individual actions can feel small, but how much of an impact they can make. It’s a story that celebrates progress, resilience, and hope.

Summary

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybeit’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

Review

(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Yes No Maybe So was exactly the book I needed. Faced with the world and the demoralizing politics, you can wonder, “What can I really do to hold back this storm?” Well Yes No Maybe So is a relevant and resilient answer. It celebrates rage, activism, and the knowledge that our act of resistance is progress. As a fan of both authors individually, I am so excited by this powerful dual POV team. I fell in love with Jamie’s passion, his awkwardness, and his desire to change the world. At the same time, I love Maya’s struggle with her best friend, her vulnerability, and her strength.

I can’t decide if I loved this book so much because of its timeliness or the characters. Both of these elements seamlessly work together creating an obsessive need to finish the book and figure out the results of the election. At the same time, the characters expand in your heart that more you get to know them. Jamie’s open-hearted nature mixed with Maya’s vulnerabilities and the way she feels like her life is crumbling around her. They are thrown together by a mixture of fate and the power of mothers. Throughout Yes No Maybe So I love the strength of the activism, the ways it can come down to a single vote, or a series of single votes which tip the scale.

You never get overwhelmed by the touches of reality – the potential of an anti-Muslim bill or the ways people gaslight them, so quick to tell them that they need to be less emotional. It’s easy to be un-emotional when it isn’t you being attacked. When your friends, family, religion, and culture is not being attacked. Can their attraction survive their intercultural differences? I don’t read enough books that tackle the problems or challenges of this. If you’re interested in an anthology, check out Color Outside the Lines!

Overall,

Yes No Maybe So is about the power of the individual. Our choice to enact our agency, to fight for the future we want, to change the narrative. We have to fight for change, not only because we’re focused on the goal ahead of us, but also because the act of resistance, of progress, is also important. I can’t recommend Yes No Maybe So enough to absolutely everyone. Find Yes No Maybe So on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.

Discussion

What is your favorite book with activism?


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